BEWARE four “red flags” that all Android phone owners must watch out for.
Cyber-experts have told The Sun that there are important warning signs you need to check for when downloading any app.
Make sure to watch out for dodgy apps on Android[/caption]
You might think it’s safe to get apps from the Google Play store.
But dodgy apps often make their way on the Android app store – and could lead to you being scammed, hacked or financially ruined.
We spoke to cybersecurity expert Grant Wyatt to find out what you need to look out for.
Grant, who is COO off cyber firm MIRACL, gave The Sun seven tips for using Android apps safely.
Red flag #1 – Check the downloads
“Rule number one when downloading popular apps from the Google Play Store is check the download count,” Grant told The Sun.
“If you’re about to download a hugely popular app, but the download count seems low, chances are it’s a fake.”
Red flag #2 – Dodgy permissions?
Probably the most important thing is the PERMISSIONS that the app requires,” Grant explained.
“Are they appropriate for the app? Specifically look for apps that require access to your contact list, or permission to send text messages, for example.
“Think, does the app really need those permissions? You have to use your judgement.
“A mistake here can be really damaging, apps with network permission can ‘sniff’ any data you send, and apps with keyboard permissions can ‘sniff’ any passwords you type – avoid downloading apps that require them.”
Red flag #3 – Read the description
“Similarly, read the product description,” Grant told us.
“If the description is written in broken English, seems “bot-like”, or is formatted in a strange way, it’s likely a fake.
“While you’re checking out the product description, take a look at the images too. Is there anything strange about them?
“Are they blurry, or does the language seem off? If so, it’s likely a fake.”
Red flag #4 – Who made it?
Grant warned: “You should also look carefully at the developer of the app, particularly for finance apps.
“Make sure the developer is legitimately a financial institution.
“If the developer’s name has nothing to do with your bank, it’s likely a fake.”
Safety tip #1 – Use reports!
“If you do come across a fake app, you should report it,” Grant said, speaking to The Sun.
“Simply scroll to the bottom of the page, click ‘Flag as inappropriate’.
“From there, you simply fill out a form highlighting your suspicions that the developer is up to no good, and Google will take it from there.”
Safety tip #2 – Don’t be afraid to delete
“Should you mistakenly download a fake app, delete it immediately,” Grant advised.
“If the icon doesn’t show up on your screen, which often happens with data harvesting applications, head over to your application settings and delete it from there.
“However, just deleting the app doesn’t mean you’re no longer infected.
“You need to run antivirus software on your device to ensure the malware is truly gone.
“You should also delete all junk files on your phone to remove any trace of the malware.”
Safety tip #3 – Lock down your accounts
“Finally, you should change all of your passwords, and consider implementing multi-factor authentication wherever possible,” Grant recommended.
“Implementing MFA will ensure that should you fall victim to a fake app again, the cybercriminal behind it won’t be able to access your account.
“The best providers will allow for single-step MFA, which gives you all the protection of traditional MFA, but without having to faff about with SMS or email codes.”
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